Summer Programs for Kids in Poplar Bluff, MO

by Christy Ayala

Poplar Bluff is a town in the rolling hills of southeast Missouri. Also known as the gateway to the Ozarks, Poplar Bluff attracts tourists from around the Midwest for vacations and outdoor activities. From baseball teams, day camps, swim lessons, story times, junior park ranger programs and an astronomy club, Poplar Bluff parents can find plenty of programs to keep their kids busy in summer.


Baseball and softball programs are available to children who live in the Poplar Bluff R-1 School District, with teams for kids ages 8 to 16 years, and a non-competitive, co-ed coach-pitch program for younger school-age children. Youth tennis clinics and sports camps for volleyball, wrestling, football, basketball, soccer and cross-country are also offered for children during the summer through the school district. Three Rivers Community College provides a summer basketball camp for children ages 9 to 17 years. Led by TRCC coaching staff, this program includes three sessions a day and provides each child with a lunch.


Kids don't mind those hot, sticky summer days when they're having fun splashing the day away at the Black River Coliseum or the R.W. Huntington Municipal Pool. From the Poplar Bluff Piranhas swim team to American Red Cross swimming lessons, a swimming program is available to children of every age and swimming ability. For kids who are ready for an overnight camping experience, Camp Taum Sauk is just an hour away, and provides campers with the opportunity to swim, snorkel and canoe on the Black River and in the Taum Sauk Reservoir.

The Outdoors

Kids -- with their parents -- can learn the joys of exploring nature at the nearby Mark Twain National Forest, which includes participating in the free camping days program offered as part of National Get Outdoors Day. To round out the wilderness experience for kids and their families, the free camping days are offered in tandem with free fishing days, which are sponsored by the Missouri Office of Conservation and allow any Missouri resident to fish for free without a state fishing license.

Educational Programs

The Ozark National Scenic Riverways hosts special events throughout the summer near Poplar Bluff, where children can participate in the Junior Ranger program for hikes, campfires and special demonstrations. Children can also check out river exploration kits, complete with nets, bug boxes and field guides to enhance the experience of getting close to nature. Poplar Bluff children and their families can reach for the stars through programs offered by the Ozark Skies Astronomy Club. The OSAC meets for special presentations and stargazing events and at various campgrounds and at nearby Big Spring Park.

About the Author

Christy Ayala writes about recreation, sports, aquatics, healthy living, family and parenting, language development, organizational change, pets and animals. Ayala holds a master's degree in recreation administration from Aurora University’s George Williams College, a graduate certificate in organizational change from Hawaii Pacific University and a bachelor's degree in Spanish from the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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